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60 second interview: Gwen Thompson

November 14, 2011Article by Ray Withers

Continuing our series of 60 second interviews, today we speak to an experienced member of the PF team, investment consultant Gwen Thompson on what her role entails, how she has found the market so far this year, her favourite investments and ones to avoid.

What does your role involve?

As a Consultant at Property Frontiers, I advise and guide my clients on suitable options for investment, dependent on their criteria. Every individual has their own specific goal and it’s crucial for me to establish what one is looking to achieve before presenting a suitable product.

Once these are established, I ensure the client understands the nature of the investment in detail, and how the strategy of the product works and fits with their current portfolio.

Besides the process of educating my clients on the product and the subsequent purchase, all of my clients know (and have tested!) that they can come to me at any time after purchase, and I will always be on hand to help with any queries or concerns, ensuring these are dealt with promptly.

How do you think the property market has fared so far in 2011?

I take my knowledge from first hand experience; 2011 has been a fantastic year with client’s concerns about the recession subsiding and has shown renewed vigour in what has been a very cautious time for all. With this, international investors have been able to take advantage of markets that are as yet to recover, meaning they are on track to receive some phenomenal returns in the coming few years as the economy improves.

Of Property Frontiers’ products, which is your favourite and why?

Easy – one that I’ve invested in already – Bamboo!

As I’m still relatively young, I was looking for an investment that would work as my pension. I’m thoroughly unconvinced with pension funds out there and know from speaking to my clients that some have been disastrous.

Our Bamboo investments offer unparalleled levels of security with buffer stock located in different countries with Trustees holding charge over all profits. However, with an average of 500% ROI, it’s also high-reward.

It truly offers the best of both worlds, and as one of our best-selling products of 2011, over 300 of our clients clearly agree with me! 

Of other opportunities available on the wider market, which would you avoid?

Personally, I would steer clear of high risk investments that are speculative for example, based on buying pre-planning with a view to prices increasing after. As I often tell my clients, check if basic due diligence has been conducted on key areas such as land title, planning permission and ownership. It is surprising how many developments my clients have shown me where the developer does not even own the land, does not have a track record and is basing returns on the hope planning permission will be granted.

Although it will be fine in the long term, with all of the recent news on the Eurozone, I would also tread carefully if investing there – especially if you are looking for a shorter term investment return.

If you had £100,000 where would you invest?

As I would recommend to any of my clients, diversity is key.

I would vary my portfolio by including options spreading capital appreciation, passive rental income with long and short term products in different asset classes and in various currencies.

To start with, I would purchase a $50,000 USD Bamboo Bond – Covering: Bond, alternative investment, 15 year term, USD currency.

I’d follow with a 3 bed unit at Han Florya, Istanbul – £38,000 – Covering: Student asset class, guaranteed buyback exit, passive guaranteed rental income for duration at 9%, fixed GBP returns, returns from day 1.

2 bed unit at Kensington Residence, Istanbul – £32,000 with 70% developer finance – Covering: Leverage, cash flow positive, tax efficient, income from day 1, mid-term, capital appreciation.

Do you agree with Gwen or have questions on where to invest? Post your comments or queries below, we’d love to hear from you!


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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